Impulse control and self-regulation are a large part of many therapies with young children who have difficulty with waiting, stopping, following directions, and accepting limits. These skills are part of a larger set of abilities called the “executive functions,” which include emotion regulation, organization, attention, inhibiting one’s actions, and time management. Research shows that the area of the brain responsible for these complex tasks, the pre-frontal cortex, continues to develop into one’s mid-twenties. No wonder our little ones are still learning and growing and in these areas! With practice and persistence, we can help our little ones gain connections and strengthen executive functions. The games below are used to do just that.
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This blog is written by the clinicians at Jonah Green and Associates, a mental health practice based in Kensington, MD that provides quality services for children, teens, families, and adults. It is intended as a resource for families who are seeking to expand their knowledge about mental health and mental health services, and also as a resource for families who are seeking quality mental health services, especially in the mid-Atlantic region. Please feel free to post questions and comments on any of the entries as well as on any topics or articles from our companion web site www.childandfamilymentalhealth.com.
It’s 11 pm and the homework battle soldiers on. You’re standing in the door frame, trying to convince your 13 year old daughter that it’s time for bed. She has spent the last 6 hours preparing for her science test and the best thing she can do now is rest, but she won’t close the books. Your sweet, stressed, bleary eyed girl is positive that if she sleeps all will be lost and her quarter grades will be unrecoverable. Sound familiar?
Learning to help children deal with life’s challenging emotions can be difficult, especially when those feelings lead to behavioral meltdowns. Below are five tips for helping parents understand the emotional reactions of their children, and for working together through difficult times to make even the toughest of feelings more manageable. Keeping these tools in mind will assist you as you build the foundation for both coping and emotion regulation to strengthen your child’s skills throughout their lifetime. We have even included a few “bonus pointers” for parents as you navigate the storms!